U.S. Government Workers Best Paid in World
Federal employees in the United States receive significantly higher total compensation than do central-government workers in other developed nations, according to a new analysis of income data.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides figures showing how central-government workers are paid in the world's developed, high-income countries.
The OECD looked at the salaries, benefits, and paid leave for government employees and combined the values to compute total compensation in four main categories of public employees.
In the senior management category, top-level employees are classified as being at the D1 and D2 levels.
The D1 designates an employee just below cabinet level, and public employees at this level in the United States receive average compensation of $248,438 a year, compared to $228,832 for employees in 18 other OECD countries. That’s according to Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, whose analysis (We're No. 1 — in public employee pay) was published by National Review Online.
D2 managers are immediately below the D1 level. They receive on average $261,226 a year in the United States — even more than D1 employees — and $173,913 elsewhere.
The middle management category includes civil servants whose positions are designated D3 and D4. They too receive significantly more in the United States than in other countries, as do workers in the professionals category, which includes economists and statisticians.
The secretarial staff category includes senior/executive secretaries, who earn $98,786 in America and $52,815 elsewhere, and office secretaries/general office clerks, whose compensation in the United States amounts to $69,476 compared to $47,783 in the other countries.
American government workers' salaries are not outrageously higher than those in other countries, but their benefits are. U.S. federal employees' total benefits add up to 37 percent of their wages, compared to 16 percent for employees in Australia, 27 percent in the U.K., and 23 percent in the OECD as a whole.
On average, American federal government workers receive 16 percent higher total compensation than do similar workers in other OECD nations, even after differences in the countries' average income levels are taken into account.
Yet Biggs points to several factors suggesting that U.S. federal employees are on average less skilled than their foreign counterparts.
"Federal taxpayers should be able to feel confident that they are not overpaying for the services they receive," Biggs concludes. "Liberals who favor activist government should support pay parity as a means to maintain support for government programs, just as budget hawks should do so to contribute to deficit reduction.
"But the evidence, from a variety of different angles, suggests we are still far from that goal."